The Opposition coalition, NASA, once again failed to name its flag-bearer for the August 8 General Election and pushed the announcement to Thursday April 27.
Instead of the much-anticipated nomination, the coalition said it had formed the highest organ of the coalition, the Pentagon.
This will be a team of five regional leaders and is a replica of the 2007 organ on whose campaign the ODM party mounted its presidential run.
This came with the inclusion of Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto as the fifth principal of the coalition. The five leaders declared that they would campaign in all the corners of the country to deliver victory in the August elections.
Speaking at Bomas of Kenya, the principals – Raila Odinga (ODM), Kalonzo Musyoka (Wiper), Musalia Mudavadi (Amani), Moses Wetang’ula (Ford Kenya), and Mr Ruto (Chama Cha Mashinani) – promised to work together to dislodge the President Uhuru Kenyatta-led Jubilee government from power.
In the run-up to the 2007 election, Raila teamed up with Mr Mudavadi, current Deputy President William Ruto, Joe Nyaga, Najib Balala, and Charity Ngilu to form the Pentagon, which represented most of Kenya’s regions. At Bomas, Raila said the occasion marked an important day in the politics of the country.
Governor Ruto officially joins NASA
“We re-launch The Pentagon today, a day when our journey towards an inclusive, tolerant, and vigorous nation that was cut short in 2013 when elections were stolen begins,” he said.
He thanked Ruto for being steadfast in his push for good governance and constitutionalism and noted that his joining NASA gives the coalition a new push and momentum.
“Since 2010, we have been consistently committed to building a nation that thrives on peace and liberty. That dream gave birth to NASA. Today, we welcome Ruto as a new force,” Raila said.
He noted that after the August 8 elections, a NASA government will fully implement the 2010 Constitution.
“We launch a new march to send Jubilee home. On this journey, we will not lie to the people about the state of the nation,” Raila said.
He added: “We will not lie that our debt burden is manageable or the cost of living is within reach for all citizens when a 2kg packet of unga is Sh170 and 2kg of maize is Sh200. We won’t lie that we are united when we know that we are not.”
Raila said the Opposition will hold a series of rallies to popularise the coalition.
“We will unleash a series of events in the next two weeks, including the launch of our manifesto. We will mount a campaign like no other,” he said.
On the date of naming the candidate, Wetang’ula said the principals have been meeting and were now ready to have a date with Kenyans.
“For the past three days, we have locked ourselves in a room and we have made tremendous progress in arriving at our flag-bearer. The road is now clear. On April 27, we will announce the person to lead us,” said the Bungoma senator.
He added: “Like yesterday, we met until 3.30am. We didn’t even allow our aides or any other person in the meeting. We have bound ourselves to the agreement and none of us is walking out of NASA.”
Addressing elected leaders, aspiring politicians, and their supporters, the Opposition leaders hailed Governor Ruto as a champion for devolution and promised to work with him to bring change to the country.
They called for peaceful, free, and fair elections so that the will of Kenyans is reflected when results are announced.
Sealing rigging holes
The principals promised to mount a campaign that has never been witnessed in the country before and called on supporters to vote in large numbers to make rigging impossible.
“A few months ago, when I mentioned NASA, people thought that I was mad. But I am happy now that we are in every village. Our dream is to remain united and bring change in a democratic way,” Mudavadi said.
The Amani leader pointed out that Kenya’s debt burden is unbearable and their supporters should vote for them to send Jubilee home.
“We have recreated a reinvigorated Pentagon where everyone matters. It is sad that a child born today bears a debt of Sh20,000,” Mudavadi said.
Kalonzo hailed the Judiciary for making a landmark ruling in relation to elections. “The courts have ruled that the results announced at the polling stations will be final and won’t be altered. This means no elections can be stolen,” Kalonzo said.